Clacton Pier has celebrated its 147th year with the opening of a new £4m development designed to establish the site as a year-round attraction.
The historic Clacton Pier celebrated its 147th year on Saturday 21 July with a day of revelry, musical acts and free entertainment. As well as highlighting the memorable milestone the event marked the opening of the attraction’s new £4m development which includes the Skull Point adventure golf and Discovery bay children’s play areas.
These additions to the site, along with a range of new amenities will see Clacton Pier establish itself as a year-round leisure destination and a prominent part of the region’s offering.
The celebratory day saw live performances from two X Factor stars, performances from the Clacton Pier Circus and a host of children’s and family activities.
Pier director Billy Ball said it must have been the Pier’s busiest ever birthday and was delighted with the way the event went.
“It really was a full on few weeks – and especially last couple of days – to make sure we were ready to open on Saturday and we just about made it,” he said.
“We had some amazing feedback from all ages who were experiencing the new attractions for the first time and that really makes all the hard work and long hours worthwhile. We were absolutely blessed with perfect weather all weekend and it was great to see so many smiling faces about the place.The Pier was alive and there was a real buzz which is what we want to see.”
The Ball family bought the attraction nine years ago and have worked diligently since to establish it as a top-draw leisure locale. As part of the celebration a plaque was unveiled to William Ball senior who died five years ago, marking the fact that the new development was built in his memory.
“Dad has been the driving force and inspiration behind all that we have achieved on the Pier and will continue to be so,” added Ball.
“He would have been so proud that we have transformed it into a truly 52 week a year attraction, employing more people than ever before.We still have a few areas to finish as part of this development and then we will be moving onto our next scheme.We will not be resting on our laurels and there is more to come.”
Mick Skeels, Tendring District Council’s cabinet member for leisure and tourism, who attended the celebratory event also commented: “It is truly amazing what has been achieved at the Pier and this latest massive investment is a real boost for Clacton and the whole district.It will attract new visitors to the area for sure and, along with other investment along our seafront, shows that we are really on the up and moving forwards all the time.”